missing fall

Before we left town to visit New York, the weather here was fine, all the trees were green, even the lawns were starting to look normal again after the summer heat wave that tried to kill them off.

New York was hot and muggy. We had a little rain, but temps were always in the 70s and 80s. We walked the streets in our shirtsleeves. We sat in parks under full, verdant trees surrounded by thick bushes and brightly-colored flowers.

Then we came back here to find that, in the short week we were gone, practically all the leaves on the trees turned and fell, all the lawns went brown and spotty (again) and, even before that, the first thing to hit us was temps cold enough to make us put on our jackets and make us zip them up to our necks. It’s like we missed fall.

turning, turning

image of a tree's leaves turning colorThe maple tree across the street has apparently been turning color for at least a week, but I only just realized it yesterday. I stepped out the door to get the paper and was hit in the face with its fiery change. The first rays of the sun had splashed it with bright orange, highlighting the leaves that had already turned. What a spectacle.

I thought maybe the leaves were turning earlier than usual this year, but it turns out that’s not the case. Two years ago it turned at almost exactly the same time.


Thursday night is guy night, the night I’m in charge of putting food on the family, and while I could have taken My Darling B straight home and burned some animal flesh on the Weber, instead I suggested that we spend the evening relaxing on the patio at Mickey’s Tavern with a couple of beers and some really great food, because tonight is destined to be the last really nice Thursday evening of the year before the weather takes a turn toward the truly craptastic.

It’s still early in the season, but nearly all the leaves that are going to turn color have already turned, and quite a few of them have taken their death dive to lie all dried up on the ground, waiting to crunch under the eager shoes of kids everywhere. We’ve already had quite a few dark and stormy weeks, but the last few days have been warm and sunny, probably to lull us into a false sense of security, then WHAM! comes the ice and snow.

So I figured, Let’s enjoy it while we’ve got it. I had the MickeyBurger (I think that’s what it’s called), a third-pound of deliciously spiced beef on a sourdough roll. I thought I’d be able to save half of it for lunch, but I must have been hungrier that I thought because I finished it off. B tried the special, beef tacos. She almost, but not quite, finished hers off – not that it wasn’t scrumptious; it was just more taco than she could handle.

The patio was only half-full when we got there but, by the time we left about an hour later, it was packed with lots of happily noisy guests who must’ve had the same feeling I had when they got out of work for the day and couldn’t bear to be shut up inside on such a beautiful evening.


image of jack o' lanterns

The weather’s been so absolutely gorgeous that I hopped on my bike to take a ride through town today because soon enough we’ll be hunkered down against the winter winds so long I won’t even remember what a bike ride under a warm autumn sun feels like.

I haven’t been on a complete circuit of the lake in I don’t know how many weeks … lots and lots, I’m pretty sure. And as of today I still haven’t gone all the way around because riding through the neighborhoods along Atwood Avenue and Willy Street was way too enjoyable to just blow through it and keep on going. Sometimes the John Nolan causeway is sort of a letdown, you know? So when I got as far as Blair Street, where I stopped to have a good look around at the hyperexpensive two-wheelers in the aisles at Machinery Row Bicycles (a guy can dream, can’t he?) I turned around and headed back home on Jenifer Street, where golden leaves fell down on me like rain the whole way.

A guy walks into a bar with a cat on his head …

image of cat

How the hell do you keep cats off your head when you sleep at night? I’m desperately serious. Some people have bedbugs, we have cats. Now that I think of it, we got them almost the same way you get bedbugs: We brought them home with us in a valise. The difference was that we meant to, although I sometimes wonder why.

The fall season is one of those times. The weather’s cooling off at night and the cats have determined that the warmest place in the house is curled up on the bed with us. At first they were content to curl up at the foot of the bed, like good little kitties. Made a nice little Norman Rockwellish picture.

But it’s been getting cooler each successive night, and while the temps have gone down, the cats have moved up from the foot of the bed to our legs, then our hips, then snuggling in between our bodies, and last night Bonkers spent the night as close to my head as he could get. I found out when he announced himself by vigorously scratching his ears, then shaking his head, his flapping ears making a noise like a machine-gun. Coming awake from deep sleep, I just about jumped out of my skin when he did that.

Since he was awake anyway, he felt the need at that moment to noisily clean his feet. I scooped him up and dumped him at the foot of the bed, hoping he would finish his bath there. I think he did, but I found out later he had stealthily crept back to settle in at my shoulder. I woke up less than an hour later to the sound of Bonkers yawning in my ear. He can noiselessly stalk a mouse but when he yawns, he sounds like ten pounds of wet spaghetti dropped on the kitchen floor.

This can’t go on. I need to sleep. I don’t need more than just a few hours of undisturbed slumber, but I can’t get it when cats are camping out on my head, making scary noises. Locking them out of the room is not the solution; they sit outside, scratching at the door and crying like the worst kind of spoiled brats, which I guess they are. I’ve tried breaking them of that but haven’t been able to. That’s just not an option. Neither is throwing them out for the night. I can see why some people take the easy way out and do that, but it’s not fair to the cat or my neighbors. There’s got to be a way to teach them to stay at the foot of the bed without hog-tying them and dumping them there, although I admit that sounds like a very good idea right now.